Are You Having A Mid-Year Crisis?
With less than half of the year remaining, many organizations use this time to do a mid-year review of their financial targets to compare where they are against where they planned to be. Unfortunately, when this review falls short of expectations, it can lead to a feeling that something drastic has to occur. This can cause organizations to take frantic action to try to “fix” the problems in an attempt to quickly get back on track for the remainder of the year. In short, many organizations begin having a mid-year crisis!
In response to their mid-year crisis, organizations may run to existing customers and ask them about any quick improvements or fixes they’d like to see in current products and services. Others may attempt to improve existing internal processes or systems in an attempt to cut costs. Others, of course, may engage in more disruptive measures such as cutting or eliminating travel, training, and/or hiring. Others may even resort to layoffs. However, as most organizations already know, these kinds of “improvements” usually only bring temporary “relief,” and end up doing more harm than good, and often result in lower morale, engagement and productivity. Invariably, these methods also dig the organization into a hole that they’ll have to crawl out of the following year.
For many organizations, the mid-year crisis is a result of the fact that they have spent most of the year in fire-fighting mode. Focused on the demands of the “here and now” rather than on the future—i.e., behaviors and actions that lead to new ideas, growth, and innovation. But there is an alternative to having a mid-year crisis and a way of preventing it in the future. The better alternative is to do what innovators do—begin “ARCing” (ARC used as a verb) and continue to do it indefinitely. ARC is an acronym that stands for Acknowledge, Reframe, and Connect (read the article, ”The ARC Model: Outcome-Centered Design”). Above all else, innovators seek to create, and they seek to create continuously—regardless of current circumstances (for example the results of a mid-year financial review). In other words, innovators do not spring into action when they hear bad news, but rather are always seeking to create. This continuous creating mindset couldn’t be more important in today’s hyper-competitive global economy. This means regardless of your organization’s current economic circumstances, your team—your entire team—will be focused on creating new ways and new things—focused on innovation. But not innovation defined as developing a few new products or services every year, but rather innovation defined as a mindset—a “lens” through which to continuously view the world and our work. A mindset that impacts the way decisions are made, priorities established, and actions taken. A mindset that impacts the way we address problems, issues, and challenges and the way we lead and support the people in our organizations (read the article, “A Proclamation for Innovation”).
The result of everyone developing an innovator’s mindset will be a continuous stream of new products, services, tools, job aids, processes, techniques, worksheets, templates, etc. The possibilities are endless. In today’s world, developing (and supporting) an innovator’s mindset is the only way to truly attain and sustain growth and prosperity that will endure through both good and bad times. This approach also leads to a more engaged and productive workforce.
In summary, innovators do not look at mid-year numbers and react by saying, “Well, I guess it’s time to start innovating.” Rather innovators seek to create new things continuously. It is the way they view the world and their work. You can begin to take the first steps toward building the capabilities of your team to also view the world in this way (read the article, “Leading Everyday Innovation: The 10 Steps to Get Started”). There are many opportunities out there right now to generate new ideas and innovations that will have immediate positive impact. In fact, you most likely have many people in your organization who are already innovating—you just might not know who they are (read the article, “Are You Ignoring the Everyday Innovators in Your Organization?”). Their ideas can be gathered and leveraged almost immediately.
2015 is moving fast. The time is now to eliminate the potential for a mid-year crisis. It’s time to stop creating the illusion of results, and begin developing a creating mindset through the application of the ARC Model, to generate the new ideas and innovations needed to achieve real and sustainable results.